WTF, Internet? Celebrity ‘Instassistants’ just tilted a level playing field

WTF Internet 10_13_2013

I have been known to frequent the Instagrams of some celebrities – your DMXs, your Anna Kendricks, your Lebron Jameses. And I often find myself wondering, “How do they get these hands-free selfies?”

There are various athletes doing their thing, no hands. Famous females always seem to be perfectly, casually captured and uploaded in all their filtered glory – both arms in the shot. Don’t even get me started on the magnificence that is Beyonce’s seemingly spur of the moment-filled Tumblr. How do they do it?!

Here’s how: A cocktail of absolute, self-adoring narciscissm … and “Instassistants.” Yes, taking Instagram shots for celebrities can be a full-time job.

Now I can’t say that any of these stars actually used an Instassistant, but it would definitely make sense. There’s no way these rich jerks are using their iPhone’s timer, getting it perfectly propped up on books across the room, and sprinting to the destination point – just to get that perfect Instagram! No way, no how.

Instead, they have a person to do that Insta’ dirty work for them. This person’s – I’m sorry, this … Instassistant’s – entire job consists of carrying around an iPhone and being ready at any and all times to capture the majesty that is their employer. Rihanna’s got one; not a job I relish. From the looks of that Instagram feed, you’re living in a constant haze of secondhand smoke and frequenting strip clubs often enough to give you a complex of some sort.

A handful of models are rumored to employ these Instassistants as well. Arguably they just aren’t used to being behind a camera, even when they’re still technically in the photograph.

The idea is that these people in the public eye want to feed their adoring fans a controlled, calculated, beautiful image of themselves. Case in point: Beyonce’s intense, stringent regulation of published photographers. (Please do not strike me down for speaking out against her holiness!) After her performance at the 2012 Super Bowl produced some … rather unflattering photos (that were actually totally awesome – did you see that muscle striation? Girl is strong­), her press people attempted to wipe them from the Internet. If you Google “Beyonce Super Bowl,” some of the first pictures that come up are the ones team Bey wanted erased forever.

beyonceFirst of all, requesting the Internet forget something? Have you heard of the Streisand effect? Tell us we can’t see something and it shall be burned into our brains. Sometimes, when I think about Beyonce, this pops into my head:

That’s on you, Bey. (Again, I’m so sorry, I worship you, please do not forsake me.)

Of course I still stalk her on Tumblr like a sicko – if I could be a celebrity couple, I would be Jay and Bey. But it doesn’t feel like I’m getting to know her anymore than I did before … it feels exactly like looking through a Vogue photo shoot.

Instagram is supposed to be the great democratic tool of photography. It put us all on a level playing field: Don’t have a $2,000 camera? Is Photoshop too daunting or expensive? Is your Wi-Fi so slow that uploading an entire album  would be a worse fate than death? Don’t worry: There’s Instagram. A simple, easy, accessible way to make, share, and see beautiful photos. There’s a difference between handing a stranger you phone to take a snap you’re in really quick; there’s another in uploading a constant feed of grandiose selfies.

Instagram is about humblebragging; we all show off using the app. Here’s a gorgeous cocktail I’m enjoying; the hotel I’m staying at in Hawaii; my adorable dog – all looking fierce thanks to some filter love, might I add. But we’re already jealous of celebrities! You make millions, you’re beautiful, and you have idyllic lives! Why must you rub it in my face even more with these manufactured Instagrams?!

So just stop it. We get it; you’re superhumans with great faces and perfect existences. Everything about your image is crafted to be just so – will it really kill you to have one little thing that isn’t? Can’t we just have a tiny piece of you that’s unfiltered (pun so intended)?

But if you can’t be convinced, I’d like to apply to be Chris Pratt‘s Instassistant. I think we’d get along really well, and I promise I’d never use Kelvin.

Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.
Movies & TV

Winter coming in spring? HBO reveals 'Game of Thrones' season 8 premiere date

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Social Media

Snapchat’s PR firm is suing an influencer for failing to influence

Snapchat's PR firm is suing a social media influencer for his alleged failure to promote Spectacles on Instagram. Actor Luka Sabbat was paid $45,000 upfront, but the suit claims he fell well short of the terms of the deal.

Urban legends for the digital age: The best scary stories from the internet

In need of some simple scares this Halloween? We've combed the internet for the best creepypastas, urban legends, and scary stories. From found footage YouTube videos to a deceptively scary wiki, these stories are sure to spook.

WhatsApp finally gives in to the lure of cash-generating ads

WhatsApp's co-founders always said their messaging app would never show ads, but once the pair quit the company, it seemed inevitable that its owner, Facebook, would find a way to incorporate them.

Shazam hooks up with Instagram Stories for another way to share songs

The latest update for Apple-owned Shazam lets iPhone users share music tracks to Instagram Stories in a few quick taps. To enable the feature, just make sure you have the latest version of Shazam loaded on your handset.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.